Monday, February 29, 2016

Book Review: The Steep and Thorny Way by Cat Winters @catwinters

The Steep and Thorny Way by Cat Winters book cover and review
Cat Winters has solidified her place on my "must read" list with The Steep and Thorny Way. Billed as a reimagining of Hamlet, the story kept me enthralled.

It's the1920s and Hanalee is out to avenge the death of her father. When the kid who went to prison for hitting Hanalee's father with his car is released, Hanalee comes after him with a pistol. He convinces Hanalee that he's not the murderer. That he was framed. That Hanalee's new stepfather, the doctor, is the real killer.

Hanalee begins to investigate, including a couple of visits with the ghost of her father. Turns out, the story is much more complicated. Hanalee's father is black and her mother is white. The Ku Klux Klan has a strong presence in 1920s Oregon and they do not accept Hanalee or any other person of color.

I don't want to say too much about what happens. The tension mounts, as Hanalee begins to understand the truth about her father's death, and she finds herself in great danger because of it.

Winters writes characters that you can't help but sympathize with. It's easy to think the worst of people, but in some cases that's not the truth. And, of course, sometimes those we trust turn out to be the worst! The Steep and Thorny Way is a multilayered story that I couldn't put down. I wasn't really sure about what happened until it was revealed.

I will recommend this to my students along with Winters' other novels, In the Shadow of Blackbirds, The Cure for Dreaming, and The Uninvited. I gave them all 5/5 ratings.

Published by Amulet, March 8, 2016
eARC obtained from NetGalley
352 pages

Rating: 5/5

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  1. Oh good. Another Cat Winters book and this one set in Oregon! I was born in Grants Pass, Oregon the home to John Birch Society in Oregon. Very conservative land. It is pretty close to Roseberg, the site of the mass shooting this past year. When the citizens learned that President Obama was coming to meet with the families of the victims, these conservative folks held a rally against him (instead of a rally against guns or allowing mentally ill folks to get guns.) Sigh.

    1. Maybe Donald Trump needs to read this book...."I don’t know any — honestly, I don’t know David Duke. I don’t believe I have ever met him. I’m pretty sure I didn’t meet him. And I just don’t know anything about him."

  2. I haven't heard of the Cat Winters books, but this one sounds pretty interesting. I do like retellings of Shakespeare!

  3. I was really disappointed with The Uninvited, but I have high hopes for this one.


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